Milaukee Polishers

On foam EZ it says the milaukee 5540 is the industry standard for sanders. Does anyone use a cheaper model such as the 5460? The difference between the two as far as i can tell is 2800 rpm vs 1750 rpm? What do any of you pros use? Anyone else have different prefences? Thanks

isnt a millwalkie polisher a guy with a beer and a hot dog after work?



i can’t stop…

ambrose, what a therapy

i’m no pro, but i use a cheap-ass Harbor Freight sander/polisher that i bought for $30 on the recommendation of several people here on Swaylocks. the Milwaukee is NOT worth the money.

yes, i need to put a large sign on my computer that says “check archive’s before asking stupid question”

i am now aware of the harbor freight model. What kind of pads do you use for that model? Can you still order “power pads” or do you have to use a different brand? Thanks


i am now aware of the harbor freight model. What kind of pads do you use for that model? Can you still order “power pads” or do you have to use a different brand? Thanks

now’s the time to take a look at that sign ya just made :slight_smile:

power pads will work just fine…and if you don’t want to spend $30 or $40 or whatever they charge for power pads, you can make your own. and yes…there’s a thread all about how to do it.

damn straight soulstice harbor freight is awesome and my 30 dollar special has worked for me for quite some time. unless you are sanding boards everyday i wouldnt spend 200 dollars for a milwaukee.

If you guys are worried about the working conditions of the folks making pop-outs for Surftech in Thailand, you’d just love the working conditions of the poor saps making the tools you buy at Harbor Freight!

Are milwaulkee tools made in china now too? I hate supporting and perpetuating that damn totalitarian regime with my hard earned money…

Wait a minute, the Milwaukee is worth the money. You can run it over with a car and it will still work, It has a completely variable speed 0-6000 rpm, It has no ramp up to speed, you can sand all day long and it will not get hot and start to smell like a burning armature…It is a work horse, you will only buy one in your life time if you are a backyard board maker. The Harbor Freight tool is a good sander, but it is not a great sander, eventually in the middle of a sand job it will fail and you’ll go buy another one…then it will fail and you will buy another one, and so forth, and so forth. Until you get to the cost of a better sander, but then you will not own a great sander, you’ll just have a pile of burned out Harbor freight sanders.

I think it was Jim P. that said “Poor men can’t aford cheap tools”. Buy the best you can afford…Just think if you would have bought a Skill 100 back in 1960 whatever, it would still be running. Save money on cheap sand paper, Harbor Freight is a great place to buy 80 grit.

Buy a good planer, buy a good sander, buy good squeegees, buy good masking tape, Hand make the rest of the tools. And skimp on the rest.


The most versatile one is the 1750 variable. I use that for pretty much everything (shaping/sanding ding repair etc…) except polishing, although it probably would work fine, I just prefer the faster rpms for that stage. The pro sanders at the shop use 28s for pretty much everything- but we are talking 7 to 10 boards a day. If you want to have a sander to use for everything, and you aren’t worried about production- the 1750 is what I recommend. I always buy the best tools, there is no point in buying crap if you gotta use it every day. -Carl

ALWAYS buy the best peice of equipment you can afford. The aforementioned cheap piece of chinese land fill is a disposable hunk o’ junk (sorry Soulstice and others, but it’s true). The beauty of the Milwaukee is the quality in construction and the ability to rebuild when necessary. It will last forever. That other garbage is just that…garbage, that will just end up in the trash.

There’s nothing wrong with the Harbour Freight for the average backyard builder.

Quaility issues: I’ve compounded, polished, and then waxed a 30’ boat with it mine and have done about 7 boards and it hasn’t missed a beat. When doing the boat it ran for just about a whole day straight. It’s hard to beat the HF for backyard building purposes. It has slow start, come with extra brushes, a wool bonnet, a velcro backing pad for buffing, and a hard rubber pad for sanding for 25.00.

Here’s a killer sanding package: Get the 2 HF sanders (keep one as a spare if you’re really that worried about one breaking in the middle of your job) and also get a Porter Cable 7335 (5") or orbital sander (109.00 from Lowes Hardware) which will cover repairs and lighter sanding needs.

Three sanders for well under the price of one overpriced (IMHO) one.


the mustard on the backing pad

the relish on the spindle

thats the way the spinner goes

pop goes the weasel

a penny for a spool of thread

a nickel for a needle

that’s the way the money goes

pop goes the weasel

lest of all praise the meek for they will inherit the earth by default

after spoils are consumed by victor from far and whide

sanding, the domain of the truly dedicated and skillful should be provided the

finest and most comfortable tool to do their best work,a slow start Caddilac smoothly carressing the rail articulating its kiss conforming rather than distorting the expression beneath the glass…

… ambrose … Jackson Pollock trancended the brush could we eliminate sanding…perhaps not…I have two millwakees and Istill lust after that german one with the vaccum…am I clinicly ill?

Herb, I remember reading a thread awhile back about you changing out the gear housing oil on you HB Sander.

Can you elaborate?

basically, the lubricant that comes in it is kinda crappy…so to extend the life of the sander, wipe that crud off and replace it with a good lubricant like Slick 50.

Hey Riley,

It was actually Herb Spitzer’s good advise - not mine.



Looking back through the archives it looks like this question is always a hot button. Let me ask another. Suppose you had about $250. Would you rather buy

  1. Clark modified planer and Harbor Freight polisher?

  2. Hitachi planer and milaukee polisher?

Not exactly the same price but in the same ballpark. Thanks

OOPS, sorry Herb’s.

Duckdive, i’ would go for the modified planer / cheap polisher for sure. A modified planer (or an Skil 100) makes the difference when shaping, specially at railbands, rockers and deck foiling, while you can do the job with a cheap polisher.

Yeah, ditto. There is no real comparison, you have to have a modified planer for shaping- otherwise you’re just shooting yourself in the foot. -Carl